BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) -- A heat wave will expand from northern China to central and eastern regions in the coming three days, the meteorological agency reported Tuesday.
On Monday, much of northern China saw temperatures in parts of Hebei, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Xinjiang hit 42 degrees Celsius, according to the National Meteorological Center.
Maximum temperatures broke records across Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi Sichuan and Xinjiang.
In the next three days, the agency forecasts the heat wave will expand southward. Central and eastern China will see temperatures rise to their highest this year.
The agency warned the public to take precautions against the heat. Flood-stricken areas in southern China should enhance hygiene and disease control efforts.
Xinjiang's Turpan prefecture saw the hottest day on Monday since local records began, with the air temperature at 5 p.m. hitting 48.7 degrees Celsius.
In Turpan, temperatures have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for 13 straight days. The weather is expected to cool off around July 14.
The surface temperature is far higher than the air temperature. At the Mountain of Flames scenic zone in Turpan, the surface temperature surpassed 88 degrees Celsius on Monday.
Some traffic police complained that their shoes cracked due to the heat. The duration of their patrols has been cut to 15 minutes from one hour.
Scorching heat, however, has attracted, instead of intimidating, tourists to Turpan. Currently, the Mountain of Flames is receiving 3,000 visitors a day.
On Monday afternoon, at a "sand therapy" center in Turpan, Li Junfeng from Henan Province dug a hole in the sand to bury himself in. Some believe that sand baked in the sun can alleviate pain from arthritis and osteoporosis.
"The hot compress really works. It is my fourth trip here," Li said.
In Shanghai, an alert was issued Tuesday for temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius. The heat wave has posed an extra challenge to visitors waiting in long queues in the Shanghai Disneyland, which is crowded as the summer vocation has started.
The waiting time for popular rides in the park can be two to three hours. "We drank nearly 10 bottles of water from morning to noon," said tourist Chen Guanglu, with his wife and son.
"It's fun that performers sprayed water to cool us down during the parade, and service staff invited children to wait in the shade, very considerate," Chen said.
Despite the sweltering weather, outdoor work does not stop.
Ye Lingxun, a worker at a construction site in Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, was busy setting up scaffolding on Tuesday afternoon when the temperature exceeded 33 degrees Celsius.
His company offered workers watermelon and mung bean soup to make them feel cooler, and allowed them a break from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The pipes are really hot, like some 50 degrees Celsius. But the soup made me comfortable," Ye said. Much to his delight, a new air conditioner in his dormitory has brought him a sound sleep at night.
Wu Xueming, a garbage collector in his 60s, is not as lucky as Ye. Wu can barely sleep in his small rented home, mostly occupied by garbage, in Kaifeng City, Henan Province.
These days, he works 10 hours during the day, braving the heat. Wu can not afford an air conditioner, or even a decent lunch; He only eats steamed buns during work. "I looked for a factory job, but they don't want me because I'm old," Wu said.
He did not think about resting in the heat. He has given all his income, around 400 yuan (59 U.S. dollars) a month, to his son's family who just migrated to Hangzhou City, capital of Zhejiang Province.
"They don't lead an easy life, and I just hope they can be happy," he said.